Measuring the Digital Customer Experience, Objectively

Don Peppers
Written by Don Peppers
October 03, 2018

This picture is something called a “bird’s nest.” When viewed in motion, it shows the path of a user’s mouse rapidly shaking around on a website. And what it reveals is that the user was highly frustrated.

I was recently introduced to Decibel, a company that has developed some innovative technologies to analyze all of a user’s activity on a website or a smartphone app, even down to showing the path a user’s mouse takes as a page is viewed, including these “bird’s nest” patterns and other signals indicating user frustration.

Whenever I write or speak about the role of customer experience metrics, I often remind people that there really are two very different kinds of CX metrics every company should be using.

Obviously, hearing directly from customers is important, because a customer’s individual “experience” is a highly subjective thing, so getting voice-of-customer (VOC) feedback directly from customers provides an important gauge of CX quality. Nothing will flag a problem in your customer experience delivery process faster than a few irate customers or negative ratings, so a primary use of VOC feedback is spotting friction in the CX process as early as possible.

But in addition to surveying your customers’ subjective opinions, a second kind of metric should be included in any evaluation of CX quality:

“Every company should collect and analyze objective data based on direct observation.”

Observational data such as on-time delivery rate, ratio of product defects, time to answer the phone, or warranty claims received have always played an important role in gauging the true, objective quality of a company’s physical operation. And in the digital world, every marketer already knows that click-through rates, abandoned shopping carts and other kinds of objective data are critical.

But additional insight into a customer’s digital experience, every bit as important, can come from things such as mouse tracks indicating frustration (like the bird’s nest), incorrect or cumbersome navigation steps, scroll engagement, technical errors, and so forth. And these kinds of data – the kinds of data collected by technologies such as Decibel’s – don’t require customers to report their subjective opinions to you; all it takes is for you to track how they’re interacting with your website, in the same way you already track whether they click on the hot button you offer them.

Dun & Bradstreet, for instance, used Decibel’s product to identify a large segment of visitors who had trouble getting to the careers section of their website, apparently because it could only be found by clicking through the site’s “about us” section. By identifying and fixing this problem they nearly tripled the number of unique visitors considering jobs from 3,000 to 8,000 per month.

Even when you’re first alerted to a problem by customer feedback, the right kind of hard, observational data can often be decisive in getting to the root of the problem. When British Airways received a complaint from a customer who had been unable to change a booking online, Decibel’s data “really brought the comment to life,” according to Jessica Delaney, the company’s Digital Optimisation Executive, because it “allowed us to see that the buttons to change the booking for the flight were missing.”

Real-time observational data allows a company to spot digital experience problems immediately, as well. And while things like the bird’s nest might indicate a problem, other patterns can indicate high levels of engagement, as when a user scrolls their mouse over a paragraph of reading, one paragraph at a time, or even one line at a time. The point is that simply by observing how a customer uses your website or your digital app you should be able to pick up important signals about the actual, objective quality of your company’s digital experience.

“Big analytics platforms will tell you what is happening on your website, but Decibel’s technology will tell you why.”

I hope you found this article useful. If so, you can learn more by joining Decibel’s CEO Ben Harris and me for a free webinar on Tuesday, October 23, at 11:00 AM Eastern, “Measuring the Digital Customer Experience, Objectively.” Register here now, so that even if you aren’t free at that time you can access the playback.

Topics: Customer Experience
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